The Los Angeles Lakers impressed with chemistry throughout the roster last season which played a major role in the franchise winning their 17th NBA title.
The unraveling of the L.A. Clippers during last season’s playoffs only emphasized the significance of chemistry for teams with championship aspirations. Many selected the Clippers to win the title following the arrival of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
But locker room issues reportedly caused a rift in the relationship between players, and the team imploded during the Orlando bubble, allowing the Denver Nuggets to come back from a 3-1 series deficit and secure a spot in the Western Conference Finals.
Doc Rivers, who left the Clippers in the aftermath of their failure, confirmed in an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan the speculations that his special treatment of Leonard facilitated the fallout.
But while acknowledging the All-Star’s extra allowances could have been deemed problematic, he pointed out that, on the contrary, Lakers role players respected the team’s hierarchy and rallied behind their leaders, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, because they wanted to win the championship:
“The goal on every team is to find a group of guys who have figured out how to win — or at least some of them,” Rivers says. “If they are the right ones, they don’t give a s— what anyone else does. They don’t get caught up in all the crap. The Lakers are a great example. Clearly LeBron and AD got different treatment, but the guys around them said, ‘Who cares? As long as we win.’”
Weeks before a loss to the Clippers on Opening Night, James took a jab at the local rivals for the alleged toxicity that filled their locker room last season. The four-time NBA champion added he still “couldn’t believe” the Clippers blew their 3-1 lead in the series with Denver.
Davis: Lakers chemistry ‘pure and natural’
The Lakers went through some serious roster changes during the offseason, resulting in a departures of influential locker room figures such as Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee.
But the Davis said the team’s chemistry remained strong despite many new players joining the roster. “If you follow me, Trezz, Dennis or Q.C. on Instagram, that chemistry is already there,” he said.
“We’re messing with each other and it’s all pure and natural. We all kind of clicked from Day 1, to be honest.”
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